Bean salads, which are sturdy and contain no greens that could wilt, make an excellent contribution to any potluck picnic. This black bean and mango salad, with a sprightly lime and chili dressing, is particularly beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.

I can spot brownies made from a mix a mile away. They have a suspiciously dark color but one bite reveals almost no chocolate flavor.

A plate of simple-to-make brownies that actually taste like chocolate is always welcome on the buffet table.


To prepare a mango, cut a single large slice of the unpeeled fruit from either side of the large pit and then score the flesh into ½-inch squares while still attached to the peel. Turn each section inside out so the skin is now concave, and use a sharp knife to cut the diced fruit from the skin.

If you cannot find a mango, a large ripe nectarine is a good substitute.

Serves 6 to 8 on a buffet


¾ teaspoon grated lime zest

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup olive oil


4 cups drained, cooked black beans, rinsed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling

½ cup thinly sliced scallions, plus ¼ cup for sprinkling

1 ripe but firm mango, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

To make the dressing, whisk together lime zest and juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl or covered container. Whisk in the olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to make the salad.

To make the salad, combine the beans, red pepper and ½ cup each of cilantro and scallions in a large attractive serving bowl.

Add most of the dressing and toss well to combine.

Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

When ready to serve it, stir the salad again, and if dry, add the remaining dressing. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary, and then stir in the mango. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and scallions, and serve.


Makes 16 or more squares

Here’s my favorite brownie – an easy mix-in-one-bowl recipe that my daughter Maury started making for bake sales and sleepover parties back when she was in middle school. This brownie is a good balance between fudgy and cakey, dense and moist but not too gooey, and without that shiny crust that sometimes makes brownies hard to cut. The secret ingredient is a pinch of black pepper, which nicely offsets their sweetness. (By “scant” cup of sugar, I mean the sugar should not be overflowing its measure, but rather should have a slight depression in the top.)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 eggs

1 scant cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square or 7- by 11-inch baking pan.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a heavy medium-sized saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from the heat. Cool for 5 minutes.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl with the sugar and vanilla until well-blended but not foamy. Gradually whisk in the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle the flour, salt and pepper over the batter and whisk gently just until combined. Stir in the walnuts, if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted about two-thirds of the way to the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. The center should still be slightly sticky.

Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

Cut into 16 or more squares and cool completely before serving.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

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